Mobility of Persons in the New UK-EU Relationship
Brexit Institute Working Paper Series, No 6/2021
17 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2021 Last revised: 24 Mar 2021
Date Written: February 25, 2021
The UK’s two-tier immigration system ((1) free movement for citizens of the EU and (2) controlled migration from the rest of the world) has now ended. Mobility rules post-Brexit have resulted in a three-tiered system of rights: (1) those with settled status; (2) those covered by the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) who will enjoy limited mobility rights as part of trade in services liberalisation commitments between the UK and the EU; and (3) the rest who will compete for access on the basis of their skills. The TCA cements the transformation of the UK-EU relationship from one of a union of states tied by a common supranational citizenship to that of an economic partnership. The mobility regime under the TCA reflects this new dynamic: there no longer exists a stand-alone right to move; instead mobility is a composite part of trade. Trade-related mobility, however, is not new in international relations; in fact, it is a global right under the WTO’s GATS agreement. The question for this paper is whether the new UK-EU mobility framework under the TCA provide for a more generous mobility regime given the unique UK-EU history and geographical proximity or is it merely re-establishing what is available under the WTO rules between any, even the most distant, trading partner? The working paper tries to answer this question, using a case study of musicians, to consider how the TCA’s rules affect this particular, highly mobile group.
Keywords: Brexit, mobility, GATS, TCA, services
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